Wŏnsan (Korean pronunciation: [wʌn.san]), previously known as
Wŏnsanjin (元山津), Port Lazarev, and Gensan (元山), is a port
city and naval base located in Kangwŏn Province, North Korea, along
the eastern side of the Korean Peninsula, on the
Sea of Japan
Sea of Japan (East
Sea) and the provincial capital. The port was opened by occupying
Japanese forces in 1880. Before the 1950–1953 Korean War, it fell
within the jurisdiction of the then South Hamgyŏng province, and
during the war it was the location of the Blockade of Wŏnsan. The
population of the city was estimated at 329,207 in 2013. Notable
people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the
Korean Workers' Party. The city has several major factories.
In 2013, it was announced that Wŏnsan would be converted into a
summer destination with resorts and entertainment. Having spent his
childhood years there,
Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un has expressed significant interest
in further developing the region, with the construction of new
infrastructure such as Kalma Airport, a dual-use civilian
international airport and military proving ground. A state
corporation, the Wonson Zone Development Corporation has been
established with feasibility studies for a wide variety of hotels,
commercial, and industrial development.
3 Administrative divisions
5.1 City centre redevelopment
5.2 Provincial borders
Special Tourist Zone
12 People from Wŏnsan
13 Sister cities
14 See also
16 Further reading
17 External links
Wonsan has also been known as Yonghunghang, Yuan shan in China, Genzan
or Gensan in Japan, and Port Lazareva or Port Lazareff in Russia.
Wonsan, on the East Coast of North Korea, opposite Pyongyang
Wŏnsan's area is 269 square kilometres (104 sq mi). It is
located in Kangwŏn Province, on the westernmost part of the Sea of
Japan (East Sea of Korea) and the east end of the Korean peninsula's
neck. Mt. Changdok (Changdok-san) and Mt. Nap'al (Nap'al-san) are
located to the west of the city. More than 20 small islands flank
Wŏnsan's immediate coastal area, including Hwangt'o Island and Ryŏ
Island. Wŏnsan is considered an excellent natural port location.
Kŭmgang-san mountain is located near Wŏnsan.
Wŏnsan serves as the administrative centre of Kangwŏn Province.
The City of Wŏnsan (Wŏnsan-si) is divided into 45 tong
(neighbourhoods) and 14 ri (villages):
The city has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dwa/Dfa).
Climate data for Wonsan, North Korea
Average high °C (°F)
Daily mean °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Average precipitation days
Mean monthly sunshine hours
Source #1: Weather OnLine
Source #2: Wetter Spiegel Online (sunshine only)
Map of Port Lazaref
Wŏnsan opened as a trade port in 1880. Its original name was
Wŏnsanjin (元山津), but it was also known by the Russian name of
Port Lazarev (Lazaref). Under Japanese rule (1910–45) it was called
Gensan (元山). In 1914 the P'yŏngwŏn and Kyŏngwŏn railway lines
were opened, connecting the city to P'yŏngyang (then known as Heijo)
Seoul (then Keijo or Kyŏngsŏng). Thus, the city gradually
developed into an eastern product distribution centre. Under the
Japanese occupation, the city was heavily industrialized and served as
an import point in the distribution of trade between Korea and
Kim Il Sung
Kim Il Sung and
Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Il in Wonsan
Korean War broke out it was captured by American and South
Korean troops on 10 October 1950 during their drive north. When they
left ahead of the Chinese counter-attack, the city fell under Chinese
control on 9 December 1950. It was heavily bombed and shelled by the
United Nations in the
Blockade of Wonsan
Blockade of Wonsan during the Korean War.
According to the official US Navy history Wŏnsan was under continuous
siege and bombardment by the American navy from March 1951 until July
27, 1953, making it the longest siege in modern American naval
history. By the war's end the city was a vast shell.
City centre redevelopment
As part of a planned $582 million redevelopment of the city centre,
which is to be entirely demolished and rebuilt, a 5-star hotel, a
Wonsan International Finance Centre and a $9.6m exhibition
hall are expected to be built.
Wŏnsan used to be in South Hamgyŏng, but when provincial borders
were redrawn in 1946, it joined the northern half of Kangwŏn (which
had been split at the
38th parallel north
38th parallel north into a zone under Soviet
control in the north and one of American control in the south in 1945)
and became its capital, as Kangwŏn's traditional capitals Wŏnju
(1395–1895) and Ch'unch'ŏn (since 1896) both were south of the 38th
parallel and south of the Military Demarcation Line that replaced the
38th parallel as a border in 1953.
Wŏnsan has an aquatic product processing factory, shipyard, chemistry
enterprise, a cement factory, as well as the 4 June Rolling Stock
Works, which is one of the DPRK's largest railway rolling stock
Road and rail
The district of Wŏnsan-si is served by several stations on the
Kangwŏn Line of the Korean State Railway, including a branch to the
port; it is also connected to the national road network, and is the
terminus of the P'yŏngyang-Wŏnsan Tourist Motorway and the
The city has the dual purpose military and civilian Wŏnsan Airport
(IATA: WON) equipped with 01/19 and 15/33 dual runways. Images from
Google Earth from July and August 2014 indicated that major expansion
was taking place, including the construction of two new runways.
There is also an underground air force runway which runs through a
mountain, near Wonsan. North Korea's first public air
Wonsan International Friendship Air Festival, was held at
Wonsan Airport in September 2016.
Wŏnsan was also the terminus of the
Mangyongbong-92 ferry that
operated between Wŏnsan and Niigata, which was the only direct
Japan and North Korea. This service was cancelled
in 2006 when
Japan banned North Korean ships.
The Korean Central Broadcasting Station maintains a 250-kilowatt
mediumwave transmitter broadcasting on 882 kHz AM.
Wŏnsan is home to Songdowŏn University, Kŭmgang University, Tonghae
University, Jong Jun Thaek University of Economics, Wŏnsan University
of Medicine, Jo Gun Sil University of Engineering, Wŏnsan First
University of Education and Ri Su Dok University.
The city is home to Unp'asan Sports Club, a football (soccer) club
that plays in the DPR Korea First Class Sports Group, North Korea's
Wonsan has long been a popular tourism destination for both Koreans
and international visitors. Attractions include Songdowon beach, the
site of the Songdowon International Children's Union Camp, which
maintains exceptionally clear and clean water. Pine trees are abundant
in the surrounding area, and it has been designated a national
sightseeing point. The nearby Kalma Peninsula is to feature a new
hotel and a bathing area.
Special Tourist Zone
Announced in 2014, the
Special Tourist Zone is to cover more
than 400 square km and boasts 40 historical relics, 10 sand beaches,
680 tourist attractions, four mineral springs and several bathing
resorts and natural lakes. As part of this development the Masikryong
Ski Resort was built in 2016. A $123m golf course is planned outside
Famous scenic sites near Wŏnsan include Myŏngsasimri, Lake Sijung,
Chongsokchon and Mt. Kŭmgang. Temples in the area include the
Sogwangsa and Anbyon Pohyonsa Buddhist temples. The German Church is
the former church of the Tŏkwŏn abbey, now used by the Wŏnsan
University of Agriculture.
People from Wŏnsan
Kim Ki-nam (born 1926), politician
Japan (1992–2006)
Malacca, Malaysia
North Korea portal
List of East Asian ports
List of Korea-related topics
Geography of North Korea
Naval bases of the Korean People's Navy
^ Ryall, Julian (27 June 2013). "North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
orders the creation of nation's first beach resort". The Daily
Telegraph. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
^ Park, Ju-Min; Pearson, James (10 October 2017). "
Special Report: In
Kim Jong Un's summer palace, fun meets guns". Reuters. Retrieved 15
^ "Wonsan, North Korea". Weather OnLine. Retrieved 2011-10-21.
^ "Klimadaten". Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2012-04-11.
Wonsan Key Seaport Before War Started; Badly Crippled by U.N. Air
and Sea Attacks". New York Times. June 30, 1951. Retrieved
^ Jon Halliday and Bruce Cumings, Korea, the Unknown War (NY: Pantheon
Books, 1988), p. 157.
^ "Wonsan: Where tourism meets tanks". Reuters.
^ Kokubu, Hayato, 将軍様の鉄道 (Shōgun-sama no Tetsudō) p.
130, 2007, Tokyo, ISBN 978-4-10-303731-6
Wonsan airport undergoing major renovation, expansion - NK News -
North Korea News". 19 January 2015.
^ Mizokami, Kyle. "North Korea's Secret Strategy in a War with
America: Go Underground". The National Interest.
^ "North Korea's Thunderbird Runways". 19 May 2008.
^ "North Korea's Underground Bond-Villain Air Base Nears Completion".
North Korea shows off fighter jets at its first international air
show September 26, 2016 International Business Times Retrieved
February 3, 2017
Ferry ban turns tide on Korean smuggling". The Washington Times.
2006-10-16. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
^ YOUNG PIONEER TOURS! The Budget
North Korea Tour Operator
Archived from the original on 8 January 2014. Missing or empty
^ Park, Ju-min; Pearson, James. "In Kim Jong Un's summer retreat, fun
meets guns". Reuters.
^ "Kim Ki Nam". 5 October 2010.
^ Vyas, Utpal (2010). Soft Power in Japan-
China Relations: State,
Sub-state and Non-state Relations. Oxon: Routledge. p. 107.
^ "Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores - Gobierno - gob.mx" (PDF).
Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong Il Holds Third Summit Talks with Putin during Tour of Far
Eastern Region of Russia". Archived from the original on 17 August
Dormels, Rainer. North Korea's Cities: Industrial facilities, internal
structures and typification. Jimoondang, 2014.
Introduction to Investment Projects in Wonsan-Mt. Kumgang
International Tourist Zone,
Wonsan Zone Development Corporation.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wonsan.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Wonsan.
North Korea Uncovered, (
North Korea Google Earth) a Google Earth map
of Wonsan's cultural, economic, political, military infrastructure,
and tourist locations and facilities.
The Wŏnsan Operation, October 1950 -
Korean War amphibious assault
ordered by General Douglas MacArthur
Google Earth images of Wŏnsan[permanent dead link], including one of
Kim Jong Il's palaces, a military airfield, and the ferry
City profile of Wonsan
Wonsan at Curlie (based on DMOZ)
Cities in North Korea
Directly governed city
Cities with special status
Kŭmgang (Mount Kŭmgang Tourist Region)